Mugabe returns from China with signatures

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe jets into Harare today from a begging trip in China only holding a bag of secretive agreements and signatures but with no cash to revive an economy which is virtually on its knees.

Instead of raising hope among the suffering millions of Zimbabweans, most of whom cannot afford a meal a day, the deals Mugabe and his entourage of ministers sealed in China have become a cause for concern not only because industrialists were snubbed but due to the veil of secrecy attached to the agreements.

Information on the nurture of deals that Mugabe and his entourage have signed remains sketchy.

The State media claims the “mega deals” will in the long run breathe life into the comatose economy.

However, it is not clear how a broke government will repay China, and how the deals will ease the suffering of Zimbabweans blighted by shrinking incomes and failing social services. What China will get in return also remains another big question.

A close look at one of the so-called nine mega deals shows nothing extraordinary about the agreements at least in the economic sense, analysts said.

For instance, Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi is reported to have signed another agreement on behalf of the Zimbabwean government on mutual exemption of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and service passports.

Speculation had been rife that Beijing would pour billions of dollars into the country’s empty coffers — but the reality is that there will be no budgetary support from China, a fact confirmed by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa recently.

“No country sets aside a lump sum payment for no specific projects. Projects must demonstrate their ability to pay for themselves. You will not come to China to ask for money to invest in a project that won’t pay for itself. That would not make economic sense,” Chinamasa was quoted in the State media as saying.

Before Mugabe flew to the East, the media speculated that the country would get a windfall of between $4 billion and $10 billion — figures which would ease the financial pain that the country is experiencing.

Obert Gutu, a former government minister and now a government critic said the Chinese are masters at striking deals favourable to themselves.

“China is arguably the current leading global deal maker. The Chinese are very smart entrepreneurs, with an eye for the finer details and the small print in all commercial  agreements that they transact.

“One thing is for sure, in invariably all their deals with African countries, the Chinese almost always end up with the bigger portion of the profit to be made.

“China is in Africa to make money. The Chinese are not in Zimbabwe on a charity mission. If Zimbabwe isn't careful enough, the Chinese will sell us a dummy. In this world of mere mortals, there is absolutely no free lunch. With the Chinese,  if they scratch your back once, you have to scratch their back 10 times over in return,” said Gutu.

In 2009, at the height of the country’s economic woes, Zimbabwe signed an $8 billion deal with China where Sino-Angolan company, Sonangol was supposed to invest in gold and platinum refining, oil and gas exploration, fuel procurement and distribution, and housing development, but it is not clear what transpired of the deal.

Dewa Mavhinga, Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe chairman, cautioned against celebrating the so-called “mega loan deals from China without having full details about the nature of the loans, what they are for, what the repayment terms are and what government mortgaged to secure them.”

“The Chinese are not extending these loan facilities for charity; they are in it primarily to secure their own economic interests.

“There is need for government to fully disclose details of these loans and explain how they benefit the people of Zimbabwe and then administer them guided by principles of transparency and accountability,” said Mavhinga.

He added, “another major problem about these Chinese mega deals is that Zimbabwe is already saddled with a massive national debt of more than $10 billion, these Chinese loans only add to our debt burden, and for Zimbabwe to secure such loans when it has such a bad credit record it means desperation under which the country may have been forced to make huge concessions in return for the loans.”

Although Zimbabwe has signed some deals with China, largely in telecommunications, road and rail development and power generation, analysts contend that the country could be losing in the deals.

In China, Chinamasa signed a “securitisation framework” with the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) for all projects that government is seeking funding. The agreement is designed to provide the Chinese with some form of security.

According to Chinamasa, “securitisation, which we have already agreed, is not to mortgage our minerals but to set aside a portion of cash flows that arise when we are exploiting our mineral resources, whether diamond and gold.”

“As you know, companies which are exploiting our diamonds, gold, are liable to taxation, royalty, depletion fees and other aspects of taxation and basically the framework which we have agreed is that from those taxes, I can set aside a portion of those cash flows towards servicing any loans that I secure to fund various projects.”

A local news agency questioned the semantics behind securitisation.

Reads part of the publication’s piece: “As far as securitisation goes, much seems to have been lost in translation. Or technicalities. Or semantics. Providing security for a loan is not nearly the same as securitising the loan, although one can understand how confusion might arise around the two concepts.”

Observers say Mugabe's desperation has provided the Chinese with a perfect window.

Tired of the governance benchmarks and political reform strings attached to Western aid and investment, countries like Zimbabwe are finding it easier to deal with China, whose leaders have a policy of “non-interference” in domestic matters.


Comments (41)

the title is very correct. they brought back a bag of signatures. what I had is that they signed memorandum of understandings (MOUs) not agreements. zpf is playing with words. ask any gvt official he will tell you so many of these MOUs are gathering dust in most ministries. at one time my boss asked what are these MOUs. I explained they are expressions of interests with no commitment, from the Chinese of course. its like an engagement which does not necessary lead to marriage. china cannot be that stupid to loan Mugabe extra billions when he is already saddled with 10 billion which he has no clue how to pay it back.

gwabu - 1 September 2014

you people you are very negative about our nation. So you wanted the present to come back with trunks of money from the airport. Manje Zimbabwe ichanaka ende hamuzvidye. Poor news from this paper

wind - 1 September 2014

Yes ,whats starts are the signed Agreements not cash first.China is here to make money,just like what the Europeans and Americans who were here before imposing sanctions on us never came here for charity.Whatever u call them be it MOUs and the like,thats the starting point. Musangoshora chese chaitwa imi,ko imi makauya neyi ku Europe and America?heeee?

Hapaz Hapanyengwi - 1 September 2014

Yes ,what starts are the signed Agreements not cash first.China is here to make money,just like what the Europeans and Americans who were here before imposing sanctions on us never came here for charity.Whatever u call them be it MOUs and the like,thats the starting point. Musangoshora chese chaitwa imi,ko imi makauya neyi ku Europe and America?heeee?

Hapaz Hapanyengwi - 1 September 2014

ZANU PF is very fun and stupid how an arth can you borrw peter to settle john when you are riding against a backdrop of crumbling economy.Who among you people will ever listern to this diabolic party characterised by torture,stealing and barbaric. This is a typical country being run from a geriatric ward with a good number of them waiting to be treated for dementia . We are going one way

Ishe - 1 September 2014

With ZANU PF all we see is the so called start by no movement thereafter. The other thing that ZANU PF is good at is building castles in the air, being economical with the truth, fancily named endless plans e.g. ZIMASSET and lots others before it. In thirty years of ruling the country all we have seen is an increase in suffering of the people and someone tells me now ZANU PF will deliver, really? Now we have a minister of education who is not able to read and understand the constitution of the country and thus believes and is so stupid to propose that parents should be arrested for failure to pay school fees for primary education. If it was in any other country this clown would have been out of a job. The Zim constitution states that primary education is "free", in other words the state picks the bill. What a group of idiots!

Bingo Wokwa Gutu - 1 September 2014

ZANU PF is very fun and stupid how on earth can you borrw peter to settle john when you are riding against a backdrop of crumbling economy.Who among you people will ever listern to this diabolic party characterised by torture,stealing and barbaric. This is a typical country being run from a geriatric ward with a good number of them waiting to be treated for dementia . We are going one way

Ishe - 1 September 2014

I am sure the most important agreement signed was for arms of war. That is top priority for Mugabe and ZanuPF. A few years ago this regime ordered a shipload of arms of war in peace time. The economy is secondary as far as Mugabe is concerned. Why would China sign long term loan agreements with a man who is about to depart this planet soon, who is 90 years old? He is stuck in time warp. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Under Smith this country was second most prosperous economy in the whole of Africa despite stringent United Nations Trade sanctions from 1965 to 1980. Smith never asked for any foreign investment from anyone. Smith never got any foreign aid from the World bank or Africa Development bank or from the International Monetary Fund or UK or USA or Canada or Australia or New Zealand or European Union or China or Russia or collect money from Toll Gates. Under Smith there were no DIAMONDS discovered at the time. We blacks in formal employment were exempt from paying income tax and black businesses were exempt from paying corporation taxes as well which Zanu compelled all blacks to pay from 1980. Smith would not trade with any other country other than S Africa and Portugal but managed to make the country the second most prosperous economy in Africa. Rhodesia had no debts and Smith never went out of the country to beg. Let me make one point very clear - I AM NOT AGAINST BLACK RULE. Like everyone else I looked forward to black rule. What I moan about are the LIES by our politicians and why they were clamouring to govern when they are incapable of governing better than the previous white governments. Mugabe and ZanuPF have definitely made our lives worse than we were under white rule. After years of reflecting I now realise colonialism was by far and away the best thing that ever happened to this land. I am not advocating the return of white rule but a change of government - to have someone else sensible have a go.

Musona - 1 September 2014

Musona are you white or black. I suspect you are a disgruntled Rhodesian. Zimbabwe will never be a colony again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gogodera - 1 September 2014

Smith had less that 10000 white peopel to cater for and several millions of blacks to abuse as cheap labour. poor comparison.

taurai - 1 September 2014

@Gogodera - Idiot. Smith was a BILLION times better than Mugabe. Mugabe just inherited the second most prosperous economy in Africa - he is clueless.

Musona - 1 September 2014

One Saturday morning, in the year 2000, I witnessed one of the most amazing scenes will ever see in my life - I drove to Fife Avenue Shopping centre to buy some items in a Hardware shop. I went in OK supermarket nearby first and when I got inside there was commotion - I soon realised that Ian Smith was in the supermarket and was mobbed by shoppers and shop workers. Everything came to a standstill. People outside thought there was a fight inside only to see it was people cheering Ian Smith. I could not believe what I was seeing. When he went outside back to his red VW Golf car still he was being mobbed and cheered by almost everyone at Fife Avenue. People were shouting you were dead right Mr Smith. All spontaneous. He just smiled and never said anything and drove away. At the time cellphones were just being introduced but with no camera as we have now. In fact, if there was a video camera around that would have been a real scoop. The scene at Fife Avenue Shopping centre that day were astonishing. Jaw-dropping stuff. If Ian Smith's government was as our politicians say then he should have been attacked by the crowd but instead the crowd spontaneously mobbed and cheered Ian Smith like you will never see in your life. This was a very busy Saturday morning and people came rushing from all directions when they heard it was Ian Smith all cheering. He was alone without any bodyguards. This goes to show you how good he was.

Musona - 1 September 2014

Smith was not supposed to be in Zimbabwe in the first place. zanu has not done well that is a public fact. i do not condone their conduct. however, simth was not fair either.

taurai - 1 September 2014

musona - ndakanyora nezuro kuti please give me the names of the company directors nguva yeku tongwa ne mabhunu. This CIO and liar, taurai, zvanzi ndaigara na sekuru ku ma hostel asi achiti kwaive ne inspection. Kana kwaive ne inspection hazvaiita kuti agare na sekuru. Mapurisa would have thrown him out. To make his story more dramatic hanzi bhunu rake raimukwdza kumashure kwe truck kuchinaya. Kupusa kwe chi CIO. Ndiye akazvitsvagira basa re mu garden odzoka oti iye ndaigariswa kumashure kwe truck. Ko waidiyi kuramba otsvaga basa kumwe? Mainge muchienda kupi? Zvakaitika kangani? Ko isusu tisina ku kwdzwa ku mashure wani? Woti kupusa kwako ya government policy. Oti iye sekuru vake vaigara ku ma hostel, kunogara vanhu vasina kufunda, vaifanirwa kuitwa manager.

Der - 1 September 2014

Taurai maybe you were also not supposed to be in Zimbabwe in the first place. With the rate at which this government is behaving if Smith was not in this country dai urikuteya mbeva kwaDotito uko. Smith developed this country and left a rich Treasury Bank. MOUs have been signed before and are gathering dust. Whatever happened to MOUs we signed with Equatorial Guinea, the same lies are repeated everyday and there are people here who are so gullible they belief urine is fanta.

Maita Manyuka - 1 September 2014

Barack Obama hosted some Adrican heads of state during the US AFRICA Summit and news from that summit was that there had been $14 billion worth of deals pleaded or signed. None of us read about Kagame who was a participant at the summit going this nation Rwanda with billions of dollars in cash and none of is heard about any head of state who participated getting any form of budgetary support. How come then as Zimbabweans and as educated as we claim to be think that Mugabe and his delegation must have filled their airplanes with billions of cash in investments by Chinese companies. Who doesn't know that before any major undertaking there is need to quantify the cost of the venture? What then is wrong with Mugabe getting expressions of interest and memorandum of understanding to undertake certain projects. Who is in his right mind can undertake a major project such as building a power plant without conducting a feasibility studies or analysis to quantify the cost and the likely cash flows to be generated when the project is complete. Zimbabweans are simply ignorant and most of you lack business and econonomic intelligence. We are not entrepreneurs, hence we don't understand how global economic function and the nature of business dealings.

Ngoni Muzondo - 1 September 2014

This Musona guy must be disgruntled white Rhodisian or something. A lot has been done by black Gvt in Zim , we are the most educated Africans world over with quality qualifications better than whites!!! blacks now are making money thru farming now etc, not forgetting that is only 34years after independence and there are still more things to be done. lts a process, yet someone here expect Mugabe to bring a bucketful of cash on one visit to China, munopenga here imi vanhu? Just one visit?ltai mushe mhani imi!!!

Hapaz Hapanyengwi - 1 September 2014

@Hapaz aka taurai - thick bastard. Education was brought by the colonialists you idiot. The reason why Zimbabwe people inn schools is because the whites laid the foundation, even paying school fees for the likes of Mugabe, Nkomo, Didymus Mutasa, Parirenyatwa, Chitepo et al. That is why I say colonialism was the best thing that happened to this land you idiot. Farming - it was the whites who started the farms and brought ox-drawn ploughs when our ancestors were using MAPADZA. This is all down to colonialism you idiot. You have got a bird brain. Those thousands who cheered Ian Smith at Fife Avenue Shopping Centre in the year 2000 were black disgruntled with ZanuPF.

Musona - 1 September 2014

One sentence should read, "The reason why Zimbabwe has people going to school is because the whites laid the foundation, even paying school fees for the likes of Mugabe, Nkomo, Didymus Mutasa, Parirenyatwa, Chitepo et al". Do not boast about something started by the whites you idiot. You are blaming whites yet you boast about their education - confused idiot.

Musona - 1 September 2014

Please Zimbos lets us be objective in our discussion of the President's week long trip in China. Perhaps the starting point is for President/government or ministers/ministries involved in the deals to avail the MOUs or Agreements to the general public. Then an objective discussion can earnestly start. PLEASE let's stop pointing to ZANU PF or MDC - T, MDC -B or MDC-N or M the issue is our economy and what we need is food on our tables whether you are zanu or zapu or mdc etc/

m - 1 September 2014

Your hatred of Gushaz is clearly palpable but MUCHANETA HENYU!! When Zim was snubbed at the so-called US-Africa summit you lamented that it was a "missed opportunity" yet those African leaders came back with nothing except photos with Obama and "PLEDGES" of assistance, NOT EVEN SIGNATURES!! Now instead of giving credit where it's due, you claim Bob's trip to China was a "begging" one!! MATI MADII, muchanyara nekunyarara henyu??!!

ZVOKWADI - 1 September 2014


ZVOKWADI - 1 September 2014

vanhu wee batsirai musona ano poisoner vana nenheme dzakanyorwa mumabook evarungu. Ini handisi kuti hurumende yedu yakagona basa no. zviri pachena kuti vakuru vedu vakakoniwa. hapana anofarira mvura inonhuwa, kana maroad anemakomba makomba. nzara irikutirwadza but zvichirwadza kudaro ngati tiiteyi madebate anotiendesa mberi pane kungo chemera smith akaenda kare. smith arikunzi namusona akadzidzisa mugabe akambenge auya sei munyika isiri yake. ndiyani akmudaidza kuzobatsiridza vanhu vatema. handirambi kuti varungu vakavaka zimbabwe kwete. they did well. but the question is who invited them. when they came to this country, did they consider themselves equal with the indigenous zimbabweans. no they didnt. ndivanaani vaive mamillioner kuma 1970s. kana tichida kuita debate rakanaka ngatibvunzei vakuru valararama nguva yasmith. hanzi waiti ukakanganisa unowana chitupa chava pawindow. bvunzai kuti zvinorevei kuwana chitupa chava pawindow.

taurai - 1 September 2014

Kutuka vanhu hakubatsire musona. inga ndimi vakuru wani padare rino. tipirei wo macompany director akumbirwa na @der. ibvai matiudza mamillioner aive muzimbabwe before independence maybe you are one of them. musatukirire mukuru ingoita list yevanhu vaiita compete nemangezi fair fair. isu taitya bhurakwacha nekurumiswa nembwa.

taurai - 1 September 2014

At Musona, l feel sorry for you man,if wishes were horses, beggers will ride. Sorry hako kuti people like Rhodes,Smith and their descendents will never rule this country again.l am a product of education system that was made accessible thru grants and loans by Mugabe gvt. The former depPrimeMinister in the inclusive Gvt plus many others allover Zimbabwe and in the Dispora are a product of accessible Gvt education system soon after lndependence. Serial loser and a political failure like that leader of your(wamuziwa wandirikutaura) failed to get a sound education in Nyika yakasununguka bcoz idofo till now. lwewe plus him and many who support whatever you say,died longtime ago and are waiting to be buried ones they stop breathing. You don't deserve to in Zimbabwe,the only situation that suits well to be in Zim is when you are like the Rhodes's and Smith's graves,makafa brain baba ,chiRhodesia chakakupindai muBorn Marrow,shame on you!

Hapaz Hapanyengwi - 1 September 2014

@der, zvinokatyamadzwa kuti munhu aiwana basa rakaita sagarden boy raive an open example of being oppressed. but my friend ndizvo zvazvakanga zviri. ukaramba waitizira kupi. murungu akanga ariiye the end of the law. aiita madiro nemunhu mutema. kumahostels vanhu vakanga vasinga bvumirwe kugara ikoko vaihwanda kana inspection yatanga vozosara vosununguka inspection yapera. people had a way around it just like today. when oppressed, people will always find ways of surviving. it is my prayer that our leaders will be sensetivity to people's cries and change things for us. all this debate is another way of saying things are unbearable for us. its a cry for help. just that we do not need to self harm by inviting the likes of smith back beacuse of these hardships. lets find a better alternative.

taurai - 1 September 2014

I've been following this Musona chap for quite sometime now and I must say he has some points. Regardless of Smith having been racist against blacks and using them to develop the nation as cheap labour, he left this country intact with the second most prosperous economy after South Africa on the whole continent. When the present government took over, for the first five years or so, we seemed to be on the right path, building more secondary schools, clinics and roads in rural areas.Then the ugly creatures called corruption and greed took over and infected just about all who were connected to the ruling party. They started looting where ever they could, farms, mines and even companies. We may be the most educated africans but of what use is it when the majority are unemployed and can barely afford medical care and one decent meal to feed their families. Why do we have to beg as if we are a poor nation when we have the potential to turn our fortunes into becoming the most prosperous nation on the continent? Why have we in less than just two decades turned ourselves into a laughing stock the whole world over? Shame on our leaders.

Dr Know - 1 September 2014

taurai - usanyep iwe mu CIO. Vanhu vakuru kwauri ana Mugabe vana Chitepo ma gweta, vana Parirenyatwa ma dhokotera, vana Murerwa ma ticha, vana Muzenda ma kapenda, vana mai Shamuyarira ma nesi vakanga vasari ma garden boy. Wakapusa trying to blame someone for your own kusakwana. Ma hostel aurikutuara akavakwa ne ma bhunu acho. Dai pasina mabhunu mai gara kupi? Kumusha. Hautombonyara kuti oppression iwe waive an illegal occupant in an area meant for one person. Pfungwa yako ndeyekuma hostel. Hauna kufunda.

Der - 1 September 2014

point of correction musona. mugabe haana kudzidziswa na smith akadzidziswa nechechi yeroma. many black people who got an education in rhodesia were sponsored by various churches. otherwise smith was against educating blacks because they would eventually rebel against him as a resullt. maybe only musona got a direct grant from smith for his degree in colonialism. the problem is, if he did get sposnorship from smith to study colonialism, the books around at that time were almost all written naivo vangezi. that why achiti vanhu vakarwa hondo vaive macriminals. its the same language yaiturwa nasmith during the war . smith aiti maganda anodya vanhu- huye vane nyanga. for me i would come to harare and go back to the villages i knew kuti kwaive kunyepa. vanhu vakaenda kuhondo vaive vanhu vakangoita sewe neni. i do not know of any specific scholarship program that smith did in order to educate blacks. i do not know of any black empowerment system that was put in place by his regime that benifited blacks. other than mabasa iwayo ekuti unongo wana kamari kanoperera kuhwahwa, there was really nothing for us to sing about.

taurai - 1 September 2014

@der, vanhu vese vaurikutaura vakadzidziswa nemachechi nemamwewo mabato aive netsitsi nevanhu vatema kwete nasmith. kana waive nemhanza waigona kuendeswa kuchikoro nemafata eroma and other organisations.

taurai - 1 September 2014

An idiotic article from a puppet paper in support of a puppet gay political party, where have you ever seen such large amounts of money being carried by the head of state. unofunga ndezveku mdct kokuti mari inopuwa chematama ozoipedzera muzvikiti zvaano promisa marriage, mari yenika inoiswa ku RBZ via electronic transfer, idiots.

reason - 1 September 2014

kana mukazvambatata sei kamudhara aka kachatindongai kusvika madongi amera nyanga kusanganisa iwe Musona stop talking about history mufana.

zvamahara - 1 September 2014

kana mukazvambatata sei kamudhara aka kachatitongai kusvika madongi amera nyanga kusanganisa iwe Musona stop talking about history mufana.

zvamahara - 1 September 2014

Musona, I wish I was there when Smith was seen. Maybe I would be at Chikurubi now.

Gogodera - 2 September 2014

Ma company directors iwawo ndiwo aondomora nyika. Mbavha dzevanhu!

Johno - 2 September 2014

@ Musono you and smith can go to hell. No white man is ever going to rule zim AGAIN. Leave zim alone we will sort out our problems. IMBWA!!!

Nyakudirwa - 2 September 2014

Frankly there is nothing for Zim from China.The trip simply facilitates more&more lies for us.Agreed,we need financial help but not from China.All we can get from them are weapons although we don't need them.

chibvongodze - 2 September 2014

Nhai Hama dzangu, zvamatosiya musoro wenyaya motanga kubvarurana pachenyu. Kurwa pachedu ndihwo huroyi hunotitonga maZimbo. Sorry maningi. Until we stop dividing ourselves according to to race and the perceived political parties we will get nowhere. Guys we have a problem in our beautiful country and that's the problem.

Ko Chii? - 2 September 2014

We don't eat signatures and MOUs. Pfutseke mhani. Mugodhoyi.

Chipoto Vhaivhai - 3 September 2014

The China trip is yet to show its gains.any sober person wouldnt talk of anticipating success the day he plants.we ought to give constructive criticism and not waste time over nonentities.its time we wake up for the right cause rather than being noise-makers all the time

Edwin Katsande - 3 September 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.